Trump-endorsed State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) faced off against Democratic former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes in a debate Thursday evening hosted by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission on KAET PBS. Most of the lively exchange focused on the candidates’ stark differences regarding voter fraud, with Fontes more dismissive and Finchem stating election integrity is a priority.
Finchem said in his opening statement that he is running due to what’s happened to the office under the current officeholder, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is running for governor. He said he wants to “restore honor, integrity, and security” to the position. “It’s not up to the secretary of state to make the law, they enforce the law that’s already laid down.” In addition to other controversies, Hobbs has been involved in a high-profile legal dispute with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for making changes to the state’s Election Procedures Manual that Brnovich asserts are outside her authority.
Fontes said he’s running because “democracy is a decision.” He implied that Finchem would usher in an era of “conspiracies that lead to corruption and chaos.” Even though the secretary of state position does not deal with abortion, he went off on a rant about how his three daughters “deserve to make their own choices” and said he would discuss it further into the debate (which he did not). Democrats have made the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade reversal a central issue for the midterm elections.
Moderator Ted Simons asked the candidates if they would have certified the 2020 presidential election in Arizona. Finchem responded and said “there are too many hypothetical questions” to answer the question, pointing out that “we didn’t know” about a lot of the issues until “after the certification had occurred.” However, “Knowing what we know today, certain counties’ results should have been set aside like Maricopa and Yuma,” there were “so many votes outside of the law.”
Read the rest of the article at The Arizona Sun Times